I never really understood the reason why Scandinavians are considered “white” while people of a tanner color are considered “colored.” In my experience, I have noticed that my skin seems to change colors more than any “colored” person I know. When I’m cold, my skin turns blue. When I bruise, my skin turns purple. When I burn, my skin turns red. So why am I not called a “colored” person? I should be. The people around me have frequently been reminding me of my rainbow-like skin on a daily basis. At least they’re practicing their colors in English, right? I hear again and again, “Your skin is so white,” “Your face is so red,” “You have purple on your legs.” I’m glad they remind me of the things I don’t already know about myself. Having this realization of how many colors my skin can transform into, I have decided to try and apply for a scholarship at my university that is designated for “people of color.” Pretty sure I’m not going to get it, but hey, I have a fairly legitimate argument I can make.
Speaking of changing colors, our school had a football tournament a couple days ago, where I carelessly forgot to take some sunscreen with me and decided to stand out in the boiling hot sun and fry my skin. Nice job, Sophie. Like you’ve never done THAT before in your life. Of course I was wearing a v-neck, so now I have a lovely farmer’s tan with a giant, red triangle on my chest. Looks like I won’t be wearing tank tops for a very long time. Besides the fact that my face was the color of a ripe tomato, I had a great time at the football tournament. There was also an open forum in between the football games. There were a couple soldiers who came to speak about the current situation in Myanmar (at least I think that’s what they were talking about…it was all in Burmese, so I just use my imagination when I try to think of what they are saying).
Afterwards, the soldiers wanted me to sit and take a picture with them (dang, I wish all the cute Air Force cadets wanted to take pictures with me! Guess I’ll have to stay in Thailand if I want any special attention from military personnel). I was asked to take pictures with several people at the football game. All I could think about was my sunburn and what the heck my face looked like at that moment. After all the happy, smiling pictures, I went over to my friend, who (again, nothing new here) says, “your face is so red!” Then she pulled out her phone to show me what my face looked like…oh man…I looked like the red version of Mystique (for any of you who caught that reference, good job). Now all I can think about is how many of those people posted pictures of themselves with a girl whose face is the color of a ripe tomato. I guess I’ll never know.
I’m pretty sure I’m all over the internet as well. The other day, I went into the nursery classroom (it’s filled with dozens of small children who treat me like a celebrity every day. I go in there for my daily self esteem booster) and they turned on Shakira’s Waka Waka song. Of course, that’s my jam…duh. So I get up with the kids and do my awesome Waka Waka dance and they decide to turn on Jai Ho as well, since I was already getting my groove on. As I inspire the children with my white girl dance moves, I turn to the window and realize that there are four staff members with their phones out, filming me. Awesome. I shall be a Youtube sensation if it’s the last thing I do! The good thing about being a foreigner here is that I can do whatever I want and just say “I’m American,” which basically would let me do anything here. So I might as well continue dancing.
Speaking of the nursery children, I went to see them the day after the football game. Keep in mind that the day after one is exposed to the sunlight, one is in immense pain. As I step into the nursery, ready to receive all kinds of warm hugs from the children, I forgot for a second how sunburned my arms were. I was pleasantly reminded of this fact when seven children jump up and try to hang from my arms, three on my right and four on my left with two boys jumping on my back. Now I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in this kind of situation, but I experience it every day. However, today was different. All I could think about was how painful my sunburn was. I was screaming in my head, “I need aloe vera. Aloe vera. ALOE VERA!”
After being pleasantly reminded of my sun-kissed skin, I proceeded to the playground area, where I heard left and right, “Teacher, teacher! Miss Sophie! Your face is red.” Now I know you’re going to think I’m immature in saying this…and perhaps I am…but any time somebody says, “your face,” I always want to respond with, “your mom.” So when I hear people saying, “your face is red,” I have to restrain myself so much from saying, “your mom is red.” Call me immature, but hey, I’m still a teenager.
So now here I am, deciding whether I should try to cover up my sunburn or just embrace it and answer to everyone, “I’m American,” because that seems to be the answer to everything for me.